Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 11, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

EXIT STRATEGY....An admirably straightforward analysis from Paul Richter of the LA Times today:

Bush policy to bequeath Iraq to successor

The talk in Washington on Monday was all about troop reductions, yet it also brought into sharp focus President Bush's plans to end his term with a strong U.S. military presence in Iraq and to leave tough decisions about ending the unpopular war to his successor.

...."Bush has found his exit strategy," said Kenneth M. Pollack, a former government Mideast specialist now at the Brookings Institution.

It's nice to see that someone outside the blogosphere gets this.

Kevin Drum 1:38 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (127)

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Comments

President Thompson will win the great war over terror that Bush started.

Posted by: Al-licious on September 11, 2007 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

"They were careless people, Bush and Cheney -- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness." F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Like the worst stereotype of a rich, spoiled brat, Bush doesn't have to live with his mistakes yet alone own up to them and try to fix them. Like some rap-star prima dona he believes what he wants to believe while his entourage of yes men and hangers-on tell him only what he wants to hear. But instead of over-dosing on drugs or bankrupting himself, he's responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and has bankrupted all of us.

Thank you Red States for our Rick James president. Sorry, I apologize - that was disrespectful. Rick James actually had some talent.

Posted by: Augustus on September 11, 2007 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

Bush said it himself. I am too lazy to google now but he did say that the next prez will have to clean up after him.

Posted by: bob on September 11, 2007 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

For all his faults, W's old man was an American. How can he stand this? As I said several years ago, his dad should take him out fishing and come back alone.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O/F in 08 on September 11, 2007 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

Our press has a short memory and a small brain.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11941620/

WASHINGTON - President Bush said Tuesday the decision about when to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq will fall to future presidents and Iraqi leaders, suggesting that U.S. involvement will continue at least through 2008.

http://www.tpmcafe.com/node/28127

Posted by: mario on September 11, 2007 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

It is nice to see that Bush's passing of the ultimate buck has not gone unnoticed especially as he has explicitly stated that such is his intention as bob and mario note above.

What is less remarked is the fact that this "plan" has been in place since it became obvious in late 2003 that the strewn roses Bush expected were actually IEDs and installing a functioning regime in Iraq would be neither easy nor quick.

Bush and his administrative henchmen panicked at that point. The last 4 years have been one desperate maneuver after another: all designed solely to stave off the need for Bush to admit that the linchpin of his new foreign "policy" is not only a failure but destructive of United States interests.

I disagree with Mr. Richter's assessment [Bush]can say he left office...having at least some success...a claim that some historians may view sympathetically. I am certain that future historians will see clearly that Mr. Bush's presidency was defined, diminished and paralyzed by his desperate efforts to avoid the inevitable (and self-inflicted) embarrassment in Iraq, and that not only did he fail at this defining policy, but that his single-minded focus on it allowed other urgent problems, both domestic and foreign, to worsen.

Posted by: clio on September 11, 2007 at 3:52 AM | PERMALINK

Bush policy to bequeath Iraq to successor

Nonsense Kevin. That is not Bush's policy. Bush has already stated when he would leave Iraq many times. And that policy is as follows:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/06/20050628-7.html

"We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed, and not a day longer."

Once we are no longer needed in Iraq we will leave.

Posted by: Al on September 11, 2007 at 4:18 AM | PERMALINK

Augustus, nice spin on Gatsby.

I think Paul Richter slipped one past you: "President Bush's plans to end his term with a strong U.S. military presence in Iraq and to leave tough decisions about ending the unpopular war to his successor"

Tough decisions? Tough? ...about ending the war? That isn't a tough decision. That should have been done six months ago. The tough part is that Bushco has so fouled the USA's standing in the world, so strengthened our enemies and so weakened our military, economy and infrastructure that the only way out from here is up. Because of Bushco, we don't have good options left to us, and in his remaining 16 months, since Congress won't impeach him, Bushco will dance on our graves and dig the pit deeper.

Personally, I support a 10-year, 10% surtax on everyone who gave money to GWB's campaign in 2004. Let them pay extra for the damage they supported. They have without doubt benefitted from Bushco's destructiveness. The amazing thing about these bozos is that they line their pockets while doing structural damage, yet get away scot-free. It pisses me off that when it comes to cleaning up the mess, I --who voted against Bush in 2000, 2004, against Republicans in 2002 and 2006, was against his tax cuts, against the invasion of Iraq--I am going to be expected to make the same sacrifices to clean up his messes as those destructor-bushies. Democracy was never intended to be a con game but that's what GWB has played.

Posted by: PTate in FR on September 11, 2007 at 4:29 AM | PERMALINK

Ya know, this is not new Kev. Sorry. This top analcyst is old news from 2006.

AP, WASHINGTON
Thursday, Mar 23, 2006, Page 1
US President George W. Bush said on Tuesday that the decision about when to withdraw all US troops from Iraq will fall to future presidents and Iraqi leaders, suggesting that US involvement will continue at least through 2008.

Ya Know..Hellooo

AL, how you doing? I call your bluff and raise you 2009.

Posted by: Ya Know... on September 11, 2007 at 4:30 AM | PERMALINK

Hint AL, future President.

Posted by: Ya Know... on September 11, 2007 at 4:32 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Al on September 11, 2007


Thats not a policy, thats a course, a course, a new course, another course, please let me leave office course, may my screwup be anothers course.

Ya know what AL,I think thats BS to promise one thing, a month war, then dump it on another.

Posted by: Ya Know... on September 11, 2007 at 4:38 AM | PERMALINK

and a big "thank you!" to congress for supinely allowing bush to continue, moved goalpost after moved goalpost, to get away with it. and don't forget, bush will not really leave office in some ways until his other legacy, also enabled by congress, leaves the supreme court.

Posted by: supersaurus on September 11, 2007 at 6:02 AM | PERMALINK

I reiterate, if this is the Bush 'plan' why is the military going along with it? If true, Petraeus must see it for what it is, so is he a willing stooge? a true believer? or is something more sinister at play here?

Posted by: gus on September 11, 2007 at 6:31 AM | PERMALINK

[I am in no mood to let YOU play the 'Sept. 11' card today, Troll.]

Posted by: Al on September 11, 2007 at 6:44 AM | PERMALINK

What I'm really not looking forward to is years of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney on Sunday talk shows pointing out how Democrats are mis-managing the troop draw-down in Iraq.

They're going to go from hot shots to pot shots.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 11, 2007 at 6:48 AM | PERMALINK

When the history of this administration is written I believe it will become cleaer that Bush was going to invade Iraq anyway. 9/11 just game him a propaganda tool to speed up the invasion & sustain the occupation.

Bush, Cheney and Rove have been master manipulators & opportunists.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 11, 2007 at 6:55 AM | PERMALINK

Well, the correct response to Bush's "policy" is to end his term early - Impeach the bastard!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 11, 2007 at 7:38 AM | PERMALINK

pj in jesusland:

Bush absolutely was going to invade Iraq prior to 9-11 - read Paul O'Neill's book. That is why he needs to be impeached. Bush knew there were no WMDs in Iraq. Remember - we did not invade Iraq to establish a democracy. That was never mentioned in the lead up to the invasion. It was all about WMDs. Colin Powell is coming out and apologizing for misleading America with his bogus UN speech. He apparently has a conscience. Bush does not. Impeach and imprison that lying bastard!

TCD

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 11, 2007 at 7:42 AM | PERMALINK

It's profoundly disrespectful to the memory of all those who died that day to talk of surrendering, especially when we clearly have the enemy on the run, and are close to establishing democracy in Iraq.
Posted by: Al

What's this "we" shit, you worthless coward?

Posted by: DJ on September 11, 2007 at 7:57 AM | PERMALINK

Eisenhower did not say that Truman had lost the Korean War. He just went to Korea (interestingly, as President-elect) as he had promised to do when a candidate, and at least partially through threats to escalate the war created a ceasefire in place that has stuck ever since, with remarkably little bloodshed and an astonishing example of freedom and prosperity in the South.

That's probably the best model for a Democratic President succeeding Bush in Iraq. The Iraqis are likely to see a new President's first year as by far their best chance to get a good deal and not perpetuate a mess, AND for that reason are more likely to let us save face -- which will be easier for a new President (especially a Democrat) to do, because she (or he) will have less invested in the war.

Many historians discount Eisenhower's threat to nuke China if the North didn't accept a ceasefire, arguing that all sides wanted to accept the mess where it was. (shrug) The point is, there IS a model for a new President of the other party to get out of a war launched by the preceding President without either catastrophe or humiliation.

History is not gonna mistake Bush for Truman, and with all the other things that the guy can do to us in the next year or two, giving him the chance to try is probably the best we can do.

Ike in '08.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 11, 2007 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

“All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.”
~Words of President Bush to a CIA briefer who delivered the memo titled “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US” to Bush on Aug. 6, 2001, about a month before the September 11 attacks happened- a memo he ignored.

Republicans are traitors.

Posted by: We will never forget on September 11, 2007 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

President George W. Bush -- cowardly, irresponsible, dysfunctional and delusional until the bitter fuckin' end. It sure figures, doesn't it? Pity.

Here we are, the 6th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and rather than feeling contemplative on an obvious day for reflection, I am instead ashamed for my own country and anraged at what has been perpetrated by Bush, et al., against a defenseless country in our own name.

Perhaps because the greater cosmos has determined that we as a nation must somehow atone for the sins of our collective past, the Bush administration has become our long-overdue and well-deserved political karma, the inevitable result of our country's deliberate choice to follow the wrong gods home.

Will we as a people finally be mature enough to admit our own grievous political misjudgments in 2000 and 2004? Or will we, in the midst of reveling in our own righteous indignation, once again eschew responsibility and lay the blame for our own folly at someone else's doorstep?

We have become the people our parents and grandparents warned us about. It's truly pathetic, you know? Just a real fuckin' disgrace.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 11, 2007 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans are traitors.

Sure, but Democrats are a waste of our votes.

Posted by: gregor on September 11, 2007 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

Democracy is neither nihilist (Gregor), nor about the self-righteousness of the rear view mirror (Donald).

Ya want to BE responsible? Help create room to get out of this mess.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 11, 2007 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

>Kenneth M. Pollack, a former government Mideast specialist

In a just world that "former" would refer to "Mideast specialist", not the fact that he is no longer in the government.

Of course, in a just world he'd also be a Wal-Mart greeter.

Posted by: doesn't matter on September 11, 2007 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Conservator Deflator's answer is the correct one.

Impeach & remove Cheney and Bush this morning.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 11, 2007 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

When the history is written Bush will be remembered as a remarkably weak executive who made his decisions a la carte from a list of policies conceived by craftier men with agendas and bureaucratic skills. Dick Cheney will be remembered for his unprecedented power, which the incurious president lets flourish, and his classic antidemocratic authoritarianism.

One of the most interesting features of the American political landscape, something that has aided the Cheney Regency's authoritarian transformation, is the routing of political opposition to the status quo. The impotence of the opposition is remarkable. Over and over again in the 20th century the status quo has thrown in with authoritarian nationalist movements- radical right-wing movements struggling to overthrow the liberal democratic order- only to find these movements are incapable of responsible government- reality is subordinated to the authority of ideology. There are usually revolutions at the end of these oppressions.

Posted by: bellumregio on September 11, 2007 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

I guess I can't say I am at all surprised about his strategy. People have been bailing him out of his messes and fixing things he f**ked up his entire life. It's just this time it isn't daddy's friends/allies but the next president - quite likely a Democrat - whom he can promptly blame for messing up what was improving when he left. The GOP that still apologizes for the pResident, will go with this and beat it into the ground. It will become conventional wisdom and no one will have learned a damn thing - least of all Dubya. He can continue to lie to himself and people will let him and he will go to the grave thinking he was the injured party and it was everyone elses fault Iraq went to hell in a handbasket.

Posted by: ET on September 11, 2007 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

The Democrats were swept into office in the 06 election with a mandate. They have spent the better part of a year abandoning the demand of the American people.

There is no leadership constituency for ending the war. Oh, there are a few fringe candidates who want peace now, but look at the congressional leadership, none of them really want the war to end. If they did, it would.

You want to know where Democrats really stand, just watch their speeches to AIPAC.

Posted by: corpus juris on September 11, 2007 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Several times I've thought of using the closing Gatsby quote in my back-and-forth with others on this comments section; those of your persuasion think it's ok to bust Iraq up and then walk away. The uncomfortable fact is your team and my team supported this war, the vote was 77-23 in the Senate, and we owe the people in Iraq that want a normal country a few more years. By the end of Bush's term we will have given the Iraqi Army enough time to build a cohesive officer and NCO corps, so at that point I would be willing to support a complete pullout, and I think the political center of gravity in this country is more comfortable with my timetable than yours.

Posted by: minion on September 11, 2007 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

The political arena is surprisingly like the movies - instead of adults in major roles, we have stunted adolescents, slackers.

Posted by: j flowers on September 11, 2007 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

I'll keep saying it until I am blue in the face: significant troop reduction does not begin until January 2009.

The fool on the hill has always believed, pigheadedly, that showing any contrition or reversing of course is a sign of weakness.

It is akin to the gambler on a cold streak at the table; he will not leave the table until he is either totally busted or dragged away. Not a moment less.

Posted by: ny patriot on September 11, 2007 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

corpus

The Dems were elected on the campaign slogan Newt suggested to them: Had Enough? The "mandate" wasn't about validating a partcular war policy, as much as you might wish it, it turned on corruption, disorganization, and overreaching by the big business whores in the Republican establishment.

Posted by: minion on September 11, 2007 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Nice point about Eisenhower, Americanist, but are there any Eisenhowers among the current crop of candidates from the Democratic Wing of the Grand Establishmentarian Coalition Consensus Party of American Hegemony that seems to have taken permanent hold of the US government?

Posted by: voyager50 on September 11, 2007 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Minion, you might be right, but I don't think that is conventional wisdom. Right now I think it is time we sent a message to Nancy Pelosi. Cindy Sheehan is running against her. What would Nancy think if suddenly Cindy was fully funded? Maybe she would get the message.

Posted by: corpus juris on September 11, 2007 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

I'm just about to the point where I'd support a military takeover of the U.S. Government in order to remove Bush and Cheney and get us the hell out of Iraq. Greek tragedies are fine for the stage, but I am not willing to live in this one for much longer.

I think further that the fact that so many people seem immune to the tragedy that has befallen us--the lies, the deaths, the costs--speaks very poorly for the United States of America. We argue back and forth pointlessly on the internet over aspects of this, but anyone with half a brain can see that Bush--and Bush alone, since it was ultimately his decisions that got us here--has screwed the pooch big time...

Posted by: Modesto on September 11, 2007 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

those of your persuasion think it's ok to bust Iraq up and then walk away. The uncomfortable fact is your team and my team supported this war, the vote was 77-23 in the Senate, and we owe the people in Iraq that want a normal country a few more years.

Since you and your fellow chickenhawk Republicans demand that other people, but not you, pay the price in blood and treasure in pursuit of this failed policy, not-at-all-ex-minion, your mewling carries no weight whatsoever.

Pretending that this war carris bipartisan support is dishonest even for you, minion. Shame on you.

But then, you're already preparing the Doschstosslegende, so we expect nothing else. Too bad that dog won't hunt, nminion -- you Republicans wanted all the credit, you get all the blame.

Jackass.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

minion: The "mandate" wasn't about validating a partcular war policy, as much as you might wish it, it turned on corruption, disorganization, and overreaching by the big business whores in the Republican establishment.

Wrong. All those things were significant and certainly added to the national recognition that the GOP destroys everything it touches (I enjoyed your use of the word "disorganization" instead of the more appropriate "failed cover-ups," by the way). However, opposition to the war was the number-one reason quoted in polls by those voting for Democrats.

Posted by: shortstop on September 11, 2007 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

minion,

Your 77-23 vote was for military force 'if necessary' against a recalcitrant Saddam. Well, by March 2003 Saddam was no longer recalcitrant and an absurdly futile five-years-plus occupation is a little more than necessary military force. The busting-up part never needed to happen; that was a GOP choice (see Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bremer, et al).

The drawdown should be announced IMMEDIATELY, peace talks should be started, all talk of terrorist/islamist boogiemen must cease with reparations offered, reconstruction begun large-scale, the rest of the planet involved.

Show me the downside of this approach.

Posted by: voyager50 on September 11, 2007 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

The "mandate" wasn't about validating a partcular war policy, as much as you might wish it, it turned on corruption, disorganization, and overreaching by the big business whores in the Republican establishment.

Spoken like a true minion of Rove. That dog won't hunt either, but I do love the flop sweat from you neocon toads as you realize Bush's incompetence has ruined the GOP's decades-long brandign effort on defense.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

The big difference about Eisenhower is that all of his opponents - Mao, Stalin, the N.Koreans - knew he had the gravitas with the American public to do whatever he wanted. Like a Roman general he had the authority to offer a generous peace or plow radioactive salt in their fields if they didn't accept. No President elect from either party is going to have that impact - that's just one of the things Bush has squandered in this war by not fighting to win.

Posted by: minion on September 11, 2007 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

It's nice to see that someone outside the blogosphere gets this?

Most people get this.

What's astonishing is to see a Professional Journalist™ get it.

Posted by: Ghost of Joe Liebling's Dog on September 11, 2007 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Out now. Re-deploy now. The surge is a shell game.

Posted by: hollywood on September 11, 2007 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, minions neocon stripes show through! that's just one of the things Bush has squandered in this war by not fighting to win.

Neoconservatism never fails, it's only failed, right, minion?

But I just can't wait to hear your definition of "fighting to win." I'm sure it doesn't involve, say, not insisting on paying for the war with a tax cut.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

WASHINGTON - President Bush said Tuesday the decision about when to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq will fall to future presidents and Iraqi leaders, suggesting that U.S. involvement will continue at least through 2008.

All well and fine, too bad 1400 Mothers are going to lose their kids to save Georgie from doing something he doesn't want to do.

Posted by: Ray Waldren on September 11, 2007 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

"by not fighting to win"

You mean in Northeast Afghanistan, when General Tommy, Rumdumb and the two Dictators in Rome, er DC allowed bin Laden to escape?

A lot of 1-20-09 bumper stickers in Portland - Yeah, joy that Shrub and Cheney will be gone, but a new President and Congress inheriting a true mess in Iraq and an economy heading down the tubes. As everyone concentrates on Iraq, more and more loans will go south, the recession will grow, the dwindling middle class and the Heartland will finally realize how seriously they have been screwed by this failure at 1600 Wilhelmstrasse. Will be kind of tough to sing "Happy Days are here again" while applying a ton of elbow grease to try and clean up the mess. May well be a one term President.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 11, 2007 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

minion: those of your persuasion think it's ok to bust Iraq up and then walk away.

No, those of our persuasion thought it was never OK to bust Iraq up in the first place, you pathetic little liar.

It was those of your persuasion who desperately wanted to bust Iraq up, even though we begged you not to, and now that you've done it you're doing nothing to make it better but are simply continuing to bust it up further.

Posted by: Stefan on September 11, 2007 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

minion: those of your persuasion think it's ok to bust Iraq up and then walk away.

You know what this makes me think of? An armed robber who invades some family's home, kills the father, wounds the mother, rapes the daughter, beats up the sons, steals all their money and burns half the house down, and then, when pressed to withdraw, indignantly cries "you want me to withdraw now? Look at the shape this poor family is in! Look at this mess of a house! You can't expect me to leave them like this, can you? I have to stay and continue my work to help them until they can fend for themselves!"

Posted by: Stefan on September 11, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

The uncomfortable fact is your team and my team supported this war, the vote was 77-23 in the Senate, and we owe the people in Iraq that want a normal country a few more years.

By using platitudes like this based on a false sense of obligation, we will always "owe" the Iraqis a few more years, ad infinitum, when things don't improve there. We have certainly unleashed a host of horrors on the people of that country, many of which I'd bet you're not even aware of or willing to acknowledge, but it's been shown beyond a doubt that our troops have no ability to end those horrors. They have been sacrificing life and limb and sanity and the horrors have only been getting worse.

I can see where you'd need this madness to continue in order to protect your ego, having supported such a disastrous move in the first place. But what you'll find is that no matter how many bodies are fed into the meatgrinder that is Iraq on your behalf, desperately hoping it magically gets better, your ego will still be haunted by your past failures. Only by doing the hard work of owning up to them are you ever going to be free of their control.

Posted by: Windhorse on September 11, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Windhorse: I can see where you'd need this madness to continue in order to protect your ego, having supported such a disastrous move in the first place. But what you'll find is that no matter how many bodies are fed into the meatgrinder that is Iraq on your behalf, desperately hoping it magically gets better, your ego will still be haunted by your past failures. Only by doing the hard work of owning up to them are you ever going to be free of their control.

This is golden; the heart of minion's sickness in a nutshell, and applies equally to Jingo/Red-State Mike's continuing denials down in the "Americans Still Smarter Than You Think" thread. Even more frustrating to me than the untold injury wrought by this war built on lies is the insult of these backwashers being willing to continue the destruction in hopes of protecting their own egos.

It really doesn't get any lower than that. This is the very worst that human nature has to offer.

Posted by: shortstop on September 11, 2007 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Crocker said nothing about reducing the U.S. commitment. Indeed, four years after Bush stood under a banner declaring "Mission Accomplished."

Indeed. In fact, the Bush administration is having more "Bring 'em on" moments,
with Frances Townsend calling bin Ladin "virtually impotent,"
and George Bush overseas saying the U.S. is "kicking ass" in Iraq.
These are taunting remarks. Our local newspaer called Townsend's remarks "a major personal insult to an Arab Muslim male that could provoke al-Qaida and him to greater efforts to get us..."

And despite the administration's disaster in Iraq, Petraeus is clearly promoting endless war.

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 11, 2007 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Truly touching that minion is willing to spend the rest of his/her days in Iraq with our military acting as grief counselors. Of course, for minion, it would be an act.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 11, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

...those of your persuasion think it's ok to bust Iraq up and then walk away.

No you mindless bastard. That would be Bush.

Posted by: ckelly on September 11, 2007 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

we owe the people in Iraq that want a normal country a few more years.

Look how easy this is to say when it's not your blood and only your children's treasure. Plus, I see no evidence that staying a few more years would result in a "normal" country.

Posted by: ckelly on September 11, 2007 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

By the end of Bush's term we will have given the Iraqi Army enough time to build a cohesive officer and NCO corps..

Because certainly we'll be able to do in 18 months what we haven't accomplished in the past 4 years.

Posted by: ckelly on September 11, 2007 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

The mission of Iraq is to soothe the self-absorbed, unloved pResident's
chronic self esteem disturbance, as he continues his aggresssion, with elated sense of self.
(To say it in psych terms.)

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 11, 2007 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Well, no -- the Democrats are not gonna nominate a Presidential candidate who organized the defeat of fascism in Europe.

But it IS useful to look at the structure of what Ike did, which necessarily includes his unique assets.

First, he made this bold dramatic gesture: "I will go to Korea". It was brilliant, cuz it seemed to mean so much more than it said -- and it did, I suppose: who Eisenhower WAS made him credible in even hinting at nuclear force in a way that it is unlikely any contemporary American leader can be credible.

But that just sets up the opportunity: history is full of unlikely turns, so ya gotta be ready. (Afghanistan comes to mind.)

Second, Eisenhower understood his OBJECTIVE. Truman had a real problem with the Korean War, because he wasn't sure what he wanted: first, it was a divided Korea that was outside American protection, the North promptly attacked. (So did the South, btw: a unified Korea was everybody's goal.) Then Truman authorized a war up to the Yalu, which MIGHT have unified Korea but provoked China to fight and we lost everything we had gained. Finally, as I keep pointing out, wars are easier to start than to finish. So Ike understood that HIS objective was simply to end major fighting in place.

What will the next President's OBJECTIVE be in Iraq? If it is simply to get out on the best terms available, then we should DO that. Clarity counts. It is remarkable how many folks clutter up that vision with impeachment and war crime trials and the rest of the crap.

Third, Ike didn't look back. There were lots of Republicans who talked a good game about rolling back the Communists in Korea, and in Europe, but it was Eisenhower who did nothing when the Soviets rolled into Hungary. Ever think that might have factored into his reasoning for not saying that Truman had lost the Korean War? He wanted to keep his options open for the NEXT crisis.

So FWIW, that's probably good advice for the next President: it's not about Bush's failures, much less his humiliation. We don't have wars that are lost by political ADMINISTRATIONS, they are won (or lost) by the nation.

Patriotism 101, folks: oddly enough, it's good politics and pretty fair global strategy, too.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 11, 2007 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

By the end of Bush's term we will have given the Iraqi Army enough time to build a cohesive officer and NCO corps,

And whose side is that army going to be on during the continuation of the civil war after we're gone? Or with our Anbar strategy will we be arming and training both sides, Sunni and Shiite, so they will better equipped to kill each other after we leave.

You neocons need to come up with an answer other than "Maybe someday it'll be better."

Posted by: tomeck on September 11, 2007 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

The Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz neocon plan was to remove the entire Baathist government and replace it with a vassal state run by Ahmad Chalabi. They would then set up permanent garrisons, something the US had done in countless places since the invasion of the Philippines. There has always been a plan to draw down troops and leave it to the local potentate to police the opposition while the garrisoned American forces insure policy decided in Washington. Things didn't work out like they planned and troops will be withdrawn without a pro-US government and without pacification. But no one in the US political establishment plans to close the imperial garrisons. The local hostile government puts the long term presence of these outposts in doubt-the British were unable to hold Basra and the Green Zone is under constant threat of attack. The best they can hope for now are divided and dependent local governments prone to corruption but capable of keeping down the more radical nationalists. Bags of money will help.

Posted by: bellumregio on September 11, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

the Democrats are not gonna nominate a Presidential candidate who organized the defeat of fascism in Europe.

I'll settle for one who looks likely to organize the defeat of fascism here.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Then Truman authorized a war up to the Yalu, which MIGHT have unified Korea but provoked China to fight and we lost everything we had gained.

Incorrect -- the Chinese attacked when McArthur attacked across the Yalu, in defiance of orders. His zeal to begin the final conquest of Communism led to the rout from North Korea.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

...."Bush has found his exit strategy," said Kenneth M. Pollack, a former government Mideast specialist now at the Brookings Institution.

Quite the little club, isn't it? If Pollack is an expert on the ME, I'm gonna go get me a job as an asshole-physicist.

Posted by: JeffII on September 11, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Unless you're a Republican and you want to blame somebody for losing China or Vietnam or take the blame for the Cambodian killing fields (even though that was under a Republican administration).

And the same people who brought you that garbage will try to pin the blame for losing Iraq on minority Democrats in Congress.

By the way, Americanist, was it the Nation or the Administration that let Bin Laden get away at Tora Bora?

Posted by: tomeck on September 11, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

it's not about Bush's failures, much less his humiliation. We don't have wars that are lost by political ADMINISTRATIONS, they are won (or lost) by the nation.

Bullshit. Bush deceived this nation into supporting his war, and then executed the occupation incompetently. He and his loathsome neocon cabal lost this war, and deserve all the humiliation -- and I daresay incarceration -- that is their due.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Here's an exit strategy:

“We do not have to fund the war. We must tell the President NO to any additional funding. No legislation is required. No vote is required. We have the money to bring the troops home. It does not require a vote. The only thing required is honesty, integrity and a willingness to end the war.”

-- Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 11, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

We don't have wars that are lost by political ADMINISTRATIONS, they are won (or lost) by the nation.

"Proof by vigorous assertion" doesn't fly around here. We all know who lost this war: hint-- it's the people acting in defiance of the will of the nation.

The most important priority is ensuring that the country does not find itself in a similar position like this again, egged on to war by a jingoistic, ignorant administration. And that means one thing: serious recriminations against those responsible.

Posted by: Tyro on September 11, 2007 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Reality check:

There will be a lot of fuming and fury throughout 2008 in places like this. Meanwhile, the Democrats in Washington will make indignant speeches, but accomplish little else.

In January of 2009, the President will be either a Republican or Hillary Clinton. Assuming nothing changes in Iraq, neither will pull out of there. This despite the warm horse manure Hillary has been slinging to her base. Wait until after the primaries.

Bush will retire to Texas, and about twenty thousand short tons and several terabytes of anti-Bush material will quietly join the compost heap along with the anti-Nixon stuff.

What's left for the Bush Deranged and the Vietnam protest wannabes? Kucinich in 2016?

Now, go back to what you were doing.

Posted by: harry on September 11, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

What's left for the Bush Deranged and the Vietnam protest wannabes?

I love how the neocon propaganda robots still pretend opposition to Bush's disastrous war isn't the majority position.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory, that doesn't change one word of what I wrote.

I suspect Hillary knows a lot more about which way election winds are blowing than you do, or the pollsters, for that matter. What happened to her earlier "firm stand" on immediate withdrawal on her inauguration?

Posted by: harry on September 11, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

“We do not have to fund the war. We must tell the President NO to any additional funding. No legislation is required. No vote is required. We have the money to bring the troops home. It does not require a vote. The only thing required is honesty, integrity and a willingness to end the war.”

-- Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Good going, Dennis. Now you can strengthen these sentiments at the next State of the Union address by not jumping into the aisle after the speech to shake Bush's hand, nodding and grinning like you're in the presence of a rock star.

Posted by: shortstop on September 11, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

OK.What happens if we leave Iraq ? We are told Al queda will take over.I don't think so,Them would be Arabs Iraqi's don't really like Arabs.The Brits did it right they gave the people in AL Anbar a mutual enemy they cold rally around,AQ.Bush is giving are troops as a Mutal enemy for them to rally around.WRONG.If Bush where any kind of President he would speak to them about them Arabs trying to take over there country.Lets give them a real mutual enemy instead if of our troops.

Posted by: john john on September 11, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

that doesn't change one word of what I wrote

Except that "the Bush Deranged and the Vietnam protest wannabes" exist only in your head, which tells us about all we need to know about the rest of your "analysis" and the spirit in which it's offered.

I suspect Hillary knows a lot more about which way election winds are blowing than you do, or the pollsters, for that matter.

Yeah, pollsters have no idea of the mood of the electorate. Thanks in no small part to neocon propaganda robots, I for one suspect that any bet-hedgign has to do with the Dolchstosslegende the dishonest neocons -- but I repeat myself -- have been preparing, oblivious to how revealing that is that even they tacitly admit Iraq is a disaster.

Like I said, it's amusing to see you pretend anyone other than the deranged dead-ender Republicans -- not even the entirety of GOP voters -- support Bush's fiasco, and that the mendacity and incompetence of Bush and the neocons hasn't ruined the GOP's decades-long branding effort on defense.

Yes, yes, "harry," we know that the GOP will blame the disaster in Iraq that Bush's invasion made inevitable, and has unfolded unchecked on Bush's watch, on the Democrats. That's what Kevin's post was about, after all. Now, do you have anything of substance to say, or are you just here for your check from the Scaife counter Blogging Project?

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

What happens if we leave Iraq ? We are told Al queda will take over.

Well, if the last four years have taught us nothing else -- and it's true, they've taught some Republicans nothing at all -- it's how likely the Iraqi people are to welcome foreigners taking over their country.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK
...That's probably the best model for a Democratic President succeeding Bush in Iraq...History is not gonna mistake Bush for Truman...theAmericanist at 8:01 AM |
You can discount the threat, but it was a threat that China had to consider. You can praise Eisenhower, but he left a festering mess for generations. The difference that you fail to acknowledge, is that the Korean War was between standing, nation-state armies, not an multi-faceted insurgency. It is not a model for Iraq. It is not a model for any serious political resolution.

The equivalent in Iraq would be the Biden plan with three separate quasi-autonomous regions. There is no indication that plan would provide stability however. Neither the Turks nor the Iranians wish to see an independent Kurdistan because the Kurds will want territory from both. The Sunnis in the surrounding region do not want to see an independent Shia region because they worry about the power of a Shia Crescent. Nor do the Sunnis in Iraq do not want to find themselves locked out of Iraq's oil revenues.

....Second, Eisenhower understood his OBJECTIVE.......... it's not about Bush's failures, much less his humiliation. We don't have wars that are lost by political ADMINISTRATIONS, they are won (or lost) by the nation.....theAmericanist at 11:23 AM

You misunderstand the times of the early 50's and the acts of Douglas MacArthus. Eisenhower understood the Americans did not want that war because it had nothing to do with American national interests. That is why he settled on an endless truce rather than a national reconciliation. The Republicans of that time were like Republicans today: they attacked and impugned the patriotism of everyone who wanted to see the termination of American involvement as being "soft on communism" and "losing China to the commies." They could not attack someone of Eisenhower's stature with those phony charges.

Engaging in unjustified wars, unless quickly fought and won, cannot gain the support of the people who see clearly that the war is political and costly, not essential and necessary, whether legalized by a UN Resolution, a Tomkin Resolution or an AUMF of 2002.

Posted by: Mike on September 11, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, yeah yeah -- how about we all concede how SMART you guys are, and always were, and then you can go admire yourselves in a mirror while serious people figure out what the hell to DO?

Tomeck starts off the stupidity: "By the way, Americanist, was it the Nation or the Administration that let Bin Laden get away at Tora Bora?"

A distinction without a difference -- if we'd gotten the bastard, it would have been good for ALL of us, even if that (heaven forfend!) had meant that Bush got the credit. It wouldn't have made him any smarter, yanno -- but it's more important to me to get bin Laden than who gets credit for it.

Evidently, you disagree.

Likewise, failing to get bin Laden is clearly Bush's responsibility, just like getting him would have been to Bush's credit. But the important thing is that it hurts the NATION.

Again, you evidently disagree, cuz of the implications of your dumbass question.

Tyro compounds the collective dumbasssitude: "We all know who lost this war: hint-- it's the people acting in defiance of the will of the nation."

For one thing, we haven't actually LOST it. That's why the first principle is the OBJECTIVE. Should Clinton take office (f'r instance) and state as our objective leaving Iraq with a coalition government dominated by Shi'ites and regional autonomy in places dominated by Sunni tribes and Kurds, and backs it up with massive arms deals, that's probably doable: and it's a WIN.

On the other hand, if YOUR objective is to humiliate Bush, you've taken your eyes off the prize.

Besides, the 'will of the nation' is expressed in these quaint things called 'elections'. Bush won two of 'em (sort of), so he has a claim to actually represent the country. Likewise, we live in a republic, and I keep watching our elected representatives struggle with What The Hell To Do About Iraq. I don't see how the crap you guys throw up to avoid the issues helps 'em get the room they need -- for one thing, you guys evade the obvious more or less constantly. We CAN'T leave faster than 6-9 months, in any case (takes that long to load up the humans) and we're gonna pull out 20-25% in that time frame, anyway.

Mike takes the nonsense, and puts it on stilts: "You can praise Eisenhower, but he left a festering mess for generations."

Yeah, South Korea is such a festering mess.

And what, exactly, could Ike have done about the North?

Like I said, Truman had authorized war up to the Yalu. THAT is what provoked China (the crossing helped, but they didn't have several million soldiers there as border guards), cuz they didn't want a Korea unified AGAINST them. So they reimposed the division -- and we've lived rather well with it. (The North, not so much.)

'Course, the analogy doesn't apply very well for all kinds of reasons, but the point is, THERE IS A MODEL for a new President successfully resolving the military failure of his (or her) predecessor.

The single most important thing about Ike's achievement is that he grabbed the opportunity to get out while the getting was good. He could DO that, because his own actions (and his own party) gave him that room.

Ask yourselves: are you likely to be giving the next President the room he (or she) needs?

Or, by focusing on Bush's humiliation (instead of getting out of Iraq), and our national defeats (like failing to get bin Laden), are you making it MORE, not less likely that the next President can't get out as easily?

My predictions stand: we will have 20-25% fewer troops in Iraq by the middle of next year (which I predicrted before Petraeus testimony), which will be spun as a demand by a new Iraqi coalition: Bush will state it as a victory.

Then a new Pakistani government will give Bush bin Laden.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 11, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Except that "the Bush Deranged and the Vietnam protest wannabes" exist only in your head

You read the comments here much? They aren't coming from MY head. If you didn't have Bush to kick around, most of you would be sitting around watching the hummingbird feeder.

I for one suspect that any bet-hedging has to do with the Dolchstosslegende the dishonest neocons -- but I repeat myself -- have been preparing...

You really need to find a buzzword you don't have to look up each time you type it.

For the Democrats, it isn't about supporting a fiasco. It's about not creating a much worse disaster with Democratic fingerprints all over it, and that's all they're going to be worried about in 2008. You think Bush is the only one who wants to kick this can a few years down the road?

What the heck is Scaif?

Posted by: harry on September 11, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't "harry" one of the many noms de loon that the elmendorf troll was using last week?

Posted by: Stefan on September 11, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

You read the comments here much? They aren't coming from MY head. If you didn't have Bush to kick around...

Hate to break it to you, harry, but recognizing Bush's mendacity, incompetence, corruption and tyranny isn't a sign of derangement; again, disapproval of Bush is not just a majority position but an overwhelmingly majoritaritan position, and has been for some time.

On the other hand, supportingBush's mendacity and incompetence, as you evidently do, is pretty good evidence of derangement, as you demonstrate with every post. Keep up the good work!

You really need to find a buzzword you don't have to look up each time you type it.

Alas, the corrolary to "those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it" is that the opposite is sometimes true. The "stab in the back" myth you Republican apologists are cooking up ("It's about not creating a much worse disaster with Democratic fingerprints all over it") has been obvious for some time. But that dog won't hunt -- again, thanks in no small part to earlier GOP propaganda, Bush and the Republicans own the disaster in Iraq. Speaking of which:

For the Democrats, it isn't about supporting a fiasco

You're right; we don't. Thing is, you dead-enders do. That makes jackasses like you the deranged ones, pal.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

My predictions stand: we will have 20-25% fewer troops in Iraq by the middle of next year (which I predicrted before Petraeus testimony),

Gee, I predicted that too, as did virtually every impartial observer. This does not exactly imply genius. Of course we'll have fewer troops, simply because we won't have more to send. When you're simply re-stating commonly accepted knowledge it doesn't exactly qualify as a "prediction."

My prediction stands: the weather in the Northern Hemisphee will increasingly become colder from now until February (which I predicted before listening to any weather forecasts.

Posted by: Stefan on September 11, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't "harry" one of the many noms de loon that the elmendorf troll was using last week?

Yes - and nom de loon is simply exquisite.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 11, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Americandumbass

it's more important to me to get bin Laden than who gets credit for it.

Actually, it's more important for you that Bush not get blamed for anything.

You said the Nation, not an administration wins/loses wars. One of the primary objectives for invading Afghanistan was to capture bin Laden. W, believing in Rummy's "War on the Cheap" theory, decided to outsource Tora Bora to
some Afghan Warlord and, surprise, nobody was home.

The NATION supported going after bin Laden. The NATION would gladly have celebrated his death or capture. The NATION would have gladly praised the Army for a job well done and, indeed, Bush would have gotten the credit.

Given the choice between capturing bin Laden or blaming Bush for letting him get away, I would gladly choose the former.

Given the incompetent leadership at the top, in Afghanistan and Iraq, why do you persist in trying to deflect Bush's accountability onto the rest of us?

Posted by: tomeck on September 11, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of fiascoes, in commemoration of the date, here's a little reminder.

Maybe "harry" can tell us what action Bush took in response.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't "harry" one of the many noms de loon that the elmendorf troll was using last week?

Wasn't paying attention, but dude's got a real sound of the old troll Conspiracy Nut about him. It took me a few minutes to remember CN's handle. Wonder whatever happened to him?

Posted by: shortstop on September 11, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

It took me a few minutes to remember CN's handle. Wonder whatever happened to him?

I always figured he retired to the John Birch Society Old Trolls' Home.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

My prediction stands: the weather in the Northern Hemisphee will increasingly become colder from now until February (which I predicted before listening to any weather forecasts. Posted by: Stefan

WRONG! Who's the troll now, Mr. Ft. Lee? It will be colder until March!

You Effete East Coast Liberals think you're all so smart.

Posted by: JeffII on September 11, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

You Effete East Coast Liberals think you're all so smart.

So do you Great Pacific Northwesterners! Everyone from Chicago knows it will be cold until June.

Posted by: shortstop on September 11, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Tomeck demonstrates he's dumber than he looks: "Given the incompetent leadership at the top, in Afghanistan and Iraq, why do you persist in trying to deflect Bush's accountability onto the rest of us?"

Never did it, not even once. Just TRY to find an example, cuz there ain't any.

So Greg helpfully illustrates what genuine delusion looks like: "The "stab in the back" myth you Republican apologists are cooking up ("It's about not creating a much worse disaster with Democratic fingerprints all over it") has been obvious for some time. But that dog won't hunt -- again, thanks in no small part to earlier GOP propaganda, Bush and the Republicans own the disaster in Iraq."

And what if it's not a disaster? (Hell, what if it IS?)

Remember, a significant part of the argument against the war has always been that our presence makes things worse, which I suspect it does. It certainly attracts foreign fighters into Iraq, and I give Bush credit for turning on a dime: it USED to be that Sunni deadenders were our enemies, but now that they're shooting foreigners (who ain't us), we're friends.

Since the reason those foreigners are there is US (and since Sunni militia are shooting 'em already), we leave: and things on that front get better, no?

Likewise, the failure of a central government to run Iraq isn't all that hard to live with. Sunnis are a minority -- they don't LIKE that, but they can't change demographics.

It's not hard to see an Iraq that is measurably better in lots of ways than it is today, once we get out: for progressives to bet the farm on a genocide in Iraq after we leave that only happened because we got in, is too clever by half. It is so myopic as to be hallucinatory.

LOL -- then Stefan demonstrates just how sophomoric you guys really are: "When you're simply re-stating commonly accepted knowledge it doesn't exactly qualify as a "prediction."

Actually, it does when YOU TAKE THE FUCKING HINT.

Petraeus is not talking about taking any more troops out than would have rotated out anyway -- THAT is my prediction, that the lowered troop levels which would have happened anyway, will be reported as the influence of a new Iraqi coalition government, which in turn will be evidence that Bush's strategy is working.

You guys clearly want to insist that Iraq WILL be a disaster, that Bush MUST be humiliated -- and that all but guarantees the next President will have fewer options when he (or she) confronts a situation that does NOT have to be a disaster, for which (like bin Laden's capture) Bush can plausibly claim some credit.

Keep your eyes on the prize, folks: if it comes down to it, you are not likely to be able both to get us out promptly, AND to humiliate Bush.

If he's being humiliated by an unfolding genocide in Iraq, we will be there longer -- AND, not incidentally, an increasing share of the responsibility will fall on the next President for decisions made, say, as long after they take office as 9-11 happened on Bush's watch.

And if there is NOT an unfolding genocide in Iraq, so we can get out earlier: Bush is gonna get some credit.

Which do you expect? Hell, which do you WANT?

Be patriots, and not assholes, for once. (I know: lack of practice.)

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 11, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Are you working down a list? The "August Memo" again? The one that said planes might be hijacked to release terrorists from prison, and buildings bombed with explosives?

The 9/11 Commission Staff Report from August of 2004 has this:

In 1998 and 1999, the FAA intelligence unit produced reports about the hijacking threat posed by al Qaeda and bin Laden, including the possibility that the terrorist group might try to hijack a commercial jet and slam it into a U.S. landmark.

That sounds a little bit more specific, doesn't it? Now list all the airline security changes that took place back then.

Posted by: harry on September 11, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

So do you Great Pacific Northwesterners! Everyone from Chicago knows it will be cold until June.
Posted by: shortstop

What are you talking about? I'm from Yuma.

Posted by: JeffII on September 11, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

WRONG! Who's the troll now, Mr. Ft. Lee? It will be colder until March!

Aha! Got you now! It will begin to warm up at the end of March!

Fort Lee? What the hey? I'm not from Jersey.

Posted by: Stefan on September 11, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

The "August Memo" again? The one that said planes might be hijacked

Yes, harry -- now, what action, if any, did Bush take in response to the warning -- in August 2001, not 1999 -- of al Qaeda hijacking planes?

Needless to say, one need not anticipate slamming planes into buildings to realize that al Qaeda hijacking planes would be a Bad Thing. Although it's nice to see you recognize that the Administration claim that they couldn't imagine using them as missiles was a lie.

Now, I notice you didn't answer the question -- what action did Bush take in August 2001?

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist, policy in Korea can be considered a failure simply because no one learned enough from it to get out of Vietnam. Similarly, American policy in Iraq will be a failure if we don't engage in the proper set of recriminations against those who agitated for this war in the first place. And it requires empowering and strengthening the hands of those who wouldn't have led us into this mess. It's about a lot more issues that _just_ how we get out of Iraq. It's about rewarding those in the military who made the right decisions and the expulsion of those who went along with Bush. It's about helping politicians who are going to get us out of the war and ruining those who insist on escalating it.

Util you understand that, we're just going to be back where we started from 10-20 years from now when another embittered, insecure, slightly retarded man accepts the republican nomination.

Posted by: Tyro on September 11, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

As for "working down a list," it's just sad that the list of this Administration's incompetence, and the lives it has cost, is so long.

It's even sadder that you carry their water anyway. Says a lot about your Bush Derangement, doesn't it?

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Fort Lee? What the hey? I'm not from Jersey.
Posted by: Stefan

Right. Everyone lives in Chelsea.

Posted by: JeffII on September 11, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Right. Everyone lives in Chelsea.

Only people with health insurance. Everyone else lives in Nolita.

Posted by: shortstop on September 11, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

well, gee, Tyro, if no one else would clue you in that you're stooopid, it's my mitzvah -- this is one of the dumbest things ever said in these threads, and THAT takes some doing: "policy in Korea can be considered a failure simply because no one learned enough from it to get out of Vietnam..."

Riiight.... and the freedom and prosperity of South Korea matters not a bit. The contrast with the North -- surely one of the most miserable places on the planet, and entirely because its government sucks -- doesn't move you 'tall.

Nope, it's all about VIETNAM, where ... well, I guess America just needed YOUR wisdom, huh, Tyro?

Gee, good thing we have the benefit of it NOW.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 11, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory, that other document went right over your head, didn't it?

The memo you linked to said the FBI was following up on the leads. What action would you have taken? Set up the current TSA inspection system on the word of nothing but that memo? Do you realize how many similar memos there have been over the years? I quoted just one of the others from the late 90s, on which no drastic action was taken either. And probably couldn't have been.

It's what I implied before: This isn't about Iraq, or terror, or anything else for people like you. It's about Bush, and always has been. "The Americanist" is trying to drop a clue on your head. So far, it's been bouncing.

Good luck in 2008.

Posted by: harry on September 11, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

The President has continually and consistently backed staying in Iraq. He's looked to veto and block every suggestion that we should bring the troops home, and all actions his government has taken have been towards that fact. Sure he's said things like "We'll stand down when they stand up", but on the ground, the actions have been to add more troops, not less.

To suggest that the NEXT President's best objective should be important, without looking at THIS President's objective, smacks of sophistry at a farcical level. Your earlier post about saving face and how invested the President is tells us that this President is more interested in saving face than taking the best option for both the nation and Iraq. And to thus suggest and insinuate, that those who call for the best option (rtather than the face saving one), unpatriotic or deranged, can only be described as shameful or hypocritical, or both.

Shame on you Americanist - cast the beam out of your eye before trying to poke us in ours.

Posted by: royalblue_tom on September 11, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist, I think we can all agree that, despite Eisenhower's best efforts in Korea, American learned nothing. Vietnam was only an excuse to harbor a certain amount of bitterness in being determined to "REALLY get it right this time!" And unless we strangle every last interest group who agitated for the Iraq war, we're going to be in another mess like this again, and you will, once again calling upone everyone to "just be reasonable." You're not part of the solution. You're just want to prolong an ongoing problem.

Posted by: Tyro on September 11, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

And one other thing -- I said this before when the whole August memo came up last time, and FWIW I think it's worth repeating: it is, to a point, a legit explanation for somebody to say that even a warning as explicit as "They're going to attack SOOON!!!" doesn't actually help with the precisely where and when stuff.

So it is a legit question to wonder just what Bush COULD have done -- and it is one of the most damning things about these guys that, so far as I know, they never actually did an after-action analysis of how they fucked up.

I mean -- think like this: supposing Rice, as National Security Advisor, had actually made this a priority -- not THE priority, mind, but a priority. What could she have done?

She could have assigned a task force of folks, including a small group of the most diabolically creative, to figure out how to start with what AQ had already done, and what we knew they wanted to do, to figure out how they could hit us the hardest. I mean, we knew that they had hit the WTC, that they were thinking about hijacking planes...

Apparently, one of the things that confused folks was how terrorists would have gotten explosives ONTO a commercial airliner, cuz they were analysts, rather than folks assigned a role as in a wargame.

I don't think it's much of a stretch that a gamer sort would have caught on fast that the airliner ITSELF was a missile -- if it was fueled for a transcontinental flight.

It's the kind of after-action analysis that I for one would feel more confident of Bush's guys, if they had ever done it.

It's like Arlo Guthrie asked way back about Watergate, when Nixon was insisting he didn't know: "That just isn't the point, man/it's the wrong wrong way to do/cuz if you didn't know about that one/what else don't you know?"

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 11, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

that other document went right over your head, didn't it?

No, and neither did the fact that you tried an irrelevant distraction to cover up the fact that you didn't answer the question, either.

What action would you have taken?

That isn't the question; the question is what action Bush took. Why is it so hard for you to answer such a simple question?

It's strange -- your statements sound like a defense of Bush's lack of action. You admit that action -- if not "drastic" action -- was taken at other times (which, of course, means that possible responses to a hijacking threat were hardly unknown).

Why can't you identify anything Bush did to defend the coutnry from the theat of an al Qaeda hijacking, then? Shall we take it that you concede Bush did nothing?

Come on, harry, it's a simple question -- what did Bush do in response to the August 6 PDB. (It may be "a legit question to wonder just what Bush COULD have done, but it's a more legit question to ask what he did do; the Americanist seems to concede, and excuse, that he did nothing, even though they had a warning of how, if not where and when). Your defensiveness, too, harry, is tantamount to an admission that he did nothing. So since you evidently can't name anything, why can't you admit it?

It's about Bush, and always has been.

If Bush did nothing to defend the country -- and you seem to concede that he didn't do anything -- why should loyal Americans give him a free pass?

More relevantly, why do you?

Answer the question, harry. Put up or shut up.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Harry darling, you forgot the next line of that memo..
The unit considered this prospect "unlikely" and a "last resort," How predictably dishonest of you.

Harry proceeds to conflate this FAA report directed to aviation officials with a memo presented directly to President Bush in August 2001. Yes Harry, there were many, many memos that mentioned Al Qaeda - a little googling identifies 52 FAA reports mentioning Al Qaeda or Bin Laden between April and Sept 2001.

Funny you didn't mention these, or maybe it's not so funny - just predictable.


Posted by: ckelly on September 11, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Your premise is that:

A: No action was taken at the appropriate level.

The FBI, as the memo noted, was taking action (as far as it went, considering the problems with our intelligence system back then).

B: That there was some more dramatic action that only the President could accomplish that should have been taken.

As yet, nobody has specified exactly what this would have been, and how it would have been justified to a rational electorate at that time.

Maybe you think Al Gore (or your favorite alternate-history 9/11 president) would have launched a multi-billion dollar TSA-type security upgrade at airports, based only on this memo. Or put the entire nation on some kind of security alert. I seriously doubt this, given that he would have been judged paranoid at the very least, and that in an earlier airline security issue, he sold out for campaign contributions. The urgency of this issue was, as it is for many other people, mostly in hindsight.

The question isn't being answered to your satisfaction because the premise is flawed, and there is no reasonable answer. The stupid "August Memo" meme was a red herring from the beginning, launched by people who rarely actually think things through.

Posted by: harry on September 11, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O/F in 08: For all his faults, W's old man was an American. How can he stand this? As I said several years ago, his dad should take him out fishing and come back alone.

Bush, Sr., has taken to public weeping. I'm sure the bad seed has something to do with it, and regret that a crib death wasn't fabricated.

But who could have known?

Posted by: Luther on September 11, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

ckelly:

I'm well aware of the entire paragraph, including that this paragraph was redacted when the first version was released, and only shows up in the February release. You didn't "google" that "52" number. You got it from a news story that popped up on the first page or so. (Try actually googling "al qaeda" and "FAA" and see what dates show up.)

The perceived unlikelihood of such an attack just emphasizes the fact that is wasn't as obvious as it seems to be in hindsight. That's not a point in your favor, but mine. Why should I hide it?

In fact, the original "52" number comes from the same paper as the other item I quoted does.

Specifically, it comes from a section called "Perceived Aviation Security Threat." It starts on page 55. The next few pages are worth reading, but here's an excerpt:

One of the FAA's liaisons to the intelligence community told the Commission that the intelligence community sensed, particularly in June and July 2001, that "something was going to happen" that summer. Most of the community, he said, was looking for the event to occur abroad.

Much of this threat information was contained in the daily intelligence summaries produced by FAA's security branch for the agency's leaders. The summaries were based on reporting it received from the U.S. intelligence community and other sources. Among the 105 summaries issued between April 1, 2001, and September 10, 2001, almost half mentioned Bin Ladin, al Qaeda, or both, mostly in regard to overseas threats.

Of the 52 summaries mentioning Bin Ladin or al Qaeda, 5 mentioned hijacking as a capability al Qaeda was training for or possessed. Two mentioned suicide operations, but not connected to a threat to aviation. One of the summaries, which will be discussed later, mentioned air defense measures being undertaken in Genoa, Italy, for the G-8 summit to protect the event from possible air attack by terrorists (including their use of an explosives-laden aircraft as a weapon).

I don't know what that got massaged into by the time the news story wrote about it, but the point stands: the specific threat was not telegraphed to the extent it's being painted.

Posted by: harry on September 11, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

No, harry; again, your handwaving is obviosuly intended as a defense of the President's inaction, but it's strange that you go that far, since while you tacitly admit to it, you aren't willing to do so explicitly.

The question is simple: What action did Bush take in resonse to the August 6 PDB (which, far from being a "red herring," represented the intelligence community taking special measures to warn Bush of an immediate threat...which is why the Administration's initial "there was no warning" lie morphed so quickly into "no specific warning"). There's no "premise" to it; it's a simple matter of fact. In fact, I invite you to simply declare, as you implied above, that Bush assumed the FBI would handle everything. Or does cognitive dissonance prevent you?

Actually, your evasions and dishonesty raise other questions:

If Bush did nothing, as you seem to tacitly acknowledge, why do you defend his inaction?

If a Democratic president did nothing in response to the August 6 PDB (unlikely, since Bush is uniquely feckless, butr work with me here), would you give him a similar pass, pMr. Bush Derangement?

Since you are unable or unwilling to name one single thing bush did to defend this country from al Qaeda hijacking aircraft after the August 6 PDB -- he was on vacation, after all -- why does it seem to be so embarrassing to admit it?

It's amusing to see you evade such simple questions, but since you are unable or unwilling to answer them, they remain. So, now: Put up or shut up.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

The urgency of this issue was, as it is for many other people, mostly in hindsight.

The problem, "harry," my dear sock puppet, is that Bush, Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld were among the people for whom the urgency of defending the nation against al Qaeda was mostly, if not entirely, in hindsight.

It really is interesting the way you presume this to be the case, but it does raise the question of why you condone Bush's fecklessness, Mr. Bush Derangement.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

harry wrote: "Maybe you think Al Gore (or your favorite alternate-history 9/11 president) would have launched a multi-billion dollar TSA-type security upgrade at airports, based only on this memo. Or put the entire nation on some kind of security alert. I seriously doubt this ..."

I don't know why you would "seriously doubt this" given that "putting the entire nation on some kind of security alert" is exactly what the Clinton-Gore administration did in the fall of 1999 when the intelligence community had advance indications of the impending "Millennium" attack similar to the advance warnings of the 9/11 attack that were circulating in the summer of 2001.

The Clinton-Gore White House convened daily meetings of all the relevant agency heads, who were told to put all of their agencies on high alert and constantly "shake the trees" for any information that might be related to an impending attack.

As a result, when an extra-alert customs agent at the Canadian border stopped a suspicious car and found it contained a load of explosives, this was immediately recognized for what it was, and lead to the Millennium plot to bomb the LA airport, as well as bridges and buildings in New York, being discovered and defeated.

If the Cheney-Bush administration had done the same thing in the summer of 2001 -- instead of aggressively ignoring the threats -- then the warnings coming in from FBI field agents about suspicious foreigners taking flying lessons would have been recognized for what they were, rather than ignored by FBI headquarters, and the 9/11 plot would likewise have been defeated.

The criminal negligence of the Cheney-Bush administration was directly responsible for the success of the 9/11 attacks. That is beyond any question. The only question is whether that negligence was the result of a deliberate decision to allow a major terrorist attack on US soil to occur in order to provide the "new Pearl Harbor" that various principals of the Cheney-Bush administration (formerly associated with PNAC) had previously written would be necessary to get the American public to accept their long-planned war of aggression to seize control of Iraq's oil.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 11, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

corpus: "The Democrats were swept into office in the 06 election with a mandate. They have spent the better part of a year abandoning the demand of the American people."

I understand why people's frustration level is high, and there are many times I'm exasperated with the Democratic congressional leadership. But please, in this time of political crisis, let's think rationally, and not just react viscerally like children who threaten adults with temper tantrums if they don't get our way.

The bottom line is this: Democrats simply do not have the votes in Congress. They have 50 members of the Senate, but need 60 votes to remove a GOP filibuster, and 67 to override a presidential veto. In the House, where Democrats have 233 members, they need 290 to override a presidential veto.

The Democrats passed a war funding bill last May that mandated a troop withdrawal, which was vetoed by Bush. They failed in their attempt to override. The problem here is recalictrant congressional Republicans -- not the Democrats.

Congress indeed has the power of the purse, but what if they did decide to just unilaterally withhold funding for the war? This is a president who no doubt is perfectly willing to hold our troops hostage in Iraq until he gets his way. He's already sent them in there under-equipped; why would he not just hold them in place, even if the money ran out?

Rather than threaten congressional Democrats, we need to show them that we do indeed have their backs, because they have accomplished a lot more than would have been the case had we continuee with a Republican majority. Rumsfeld, Gonzales and Rove are gone, thanks to the Democrats' doggedness in uncovering administration malfeasance and incompetence.

I love Cindy Sheehan, but for the life of me, I do not understand why she feels compelled to move into San Francisco to challenge Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Ms. Pelosi has only been Speaker for eight months. The Republicans had twelve years to drag us down to where we are. We must have patience, because it is going to take time to turn this around.

Ms. Sheehan should stick around home in Vacaville to perhaps hold the perennially flip-flopping Democrat Ellen Tauscher to public account for her support of the war until just recently, or to maybe help finally drive the malevolent and corrupt GOP congressman John Doolittle (R-Auburn) from office in the Sacramento region. I just don't see what Ms. Sheehan's present campaign in San Francisco will accomplish, save for perhaps completing her own political marginalization within the Democratic Party.

We need to add more Democrats to the congressional ranks -- not thin the numbers of the current herd.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 11, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Today, of all days, is not the time to make light of it -- but, gee, Greg: what did Bush do to respond to the August memo?

Didn't he go on vacation?

I suggest that this might possibly have been the best he could have done. I mean -- what the hell else was THIS guy gonna do? I haven't seen much evidence that a hands-on approach on his part is worth asking for.

Royalblue shows off his ignorance: "To suggest that the NEXT President's best objective should be important, without looking at THIS President's objective...."

What a non sequitur. Grow up, already.

Look, even Kevin has finally figured out that it will take 2 years, give or take, to extricate us from Iraq. That's how long moving a couple hundred thousand US soldiers, Marines and so on TAKES. That means there will be a substantial # of American forces in Iraq when the next President takes office. THAT is why he (or she) needs to have an OBJECTIVE that can be achieved, which is what the American military is FOR -- as the late Colonel Harry Summers liked to say, 'to kill people and destroy things' in the national interest.

Going too fast for you?

It's not like folks don't know about Bush's "objectives" for Iraq: he had waaay too many of 'em. First he wanted to get the WMDs, then he wanted to get Saddam (or was it the other way around?), and finally he came up with the idea of an Arab democracy.

There's a logic to this stuff, yanno -- if the President had stated getting Saddam to be our ONLY objective (which is what I noted was the most important thing at the time), then once we HAD gotten him, we could have left: a victory, even if Iraq went to hell.

And many of y'all are essentially saying NOW that we should have done that THEN -- how many of y'all were asking: What's our OBJECTIVE?

See how valuable stating what your objective is, can be?

You don't get to go back and NOT go into Iraq; that's history.

The next President is not going to announce that her (sic) objective in Iraq is to humiliate her predecessor. More'n likely, the next President's objective in Iraq is not gonna be all that unlike Bush's current (final?) goal: a new coalition government that asks us to leave, in exchange for massive military aid. Juan Cole thinks that when we do leave, there might actually be setpiece battles between militia groups -- which is precisely when our help could be most decisive: the next President will have some very big bargaining chips.

In the interests of AMERICA, there's nothing wrong with finding a way to save face -- which includes Bush's.

LOL -- and man! Tyro, are you really this stupid? "Vietnam was only an excuse to harbor a certain amount of bitterness..."

We backed the French in taking Japan's surrender in IndoChina, because we needed their cooperation in Europe -- YEARS before Korea. We supported the 1954 deal (and we refused to help the French at Dienbienphu) because we figured that a divided Vietnam was better 'n nothing and the best we could get. We backed the Diem government because it had significant support in the US, notably the Maryknollers and the whole Tom Dooley crowd. We sent advisors cuz we figured they could win -- JFK and his Green Berets.

None of this had much to do with Korea. It was a very different kind of war -- the Korean War was a heavy armor, human wave invasion almost from the beginning and most steps along the way: there wasn't any indigenous southern rebellion, the way the Viet Cong was in RSV. Your idea that Vietnam was about Korea, or that Iraq is about Vietnam, is a sign that when you get the urge to talk history or foreign policy you should go lie down until it goes away.

And -- harry? There is lots the President could have done after August 6th and before 9-11. A prudent administration would have done a lot of after action work to figure out not so much WHAT those things were, but HOW it could have figured out what they were. It's not about TSA.

For example, several of the 9-11 hijackers should have been flagged by various INS and other databases. Why weren't they? (See Borderline Insanity, in the Monthly.)

F'r another, nobody was tasked with: 'okay, YOU'RE Al Qaeda, determined to attack us in the US: how would you do it?" When a guy makes a warning like the one the CIA made, national security advisors are supposed to REACT. We knew they had hit the WTC, and that they wanted to hijack planes.

It really wouldn't have been a big leap to figure out that they could put suicide squads on long distance flights, then fly 'em into buildings.

But nobody got the assignment. The guy who made the warning was told "okay, you've covered your ass now." And Rice went on to talk about old Soviet stuff, her expertise.

Maybe we should pick Presidents for their capacity to learn.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 11, 2007 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

We knew they had hit the WTC, and that they wanted to hijack planes. It really wouldn't have been a big leap to figure out that they could put suicide squads on long distance flights, then fly 'em into buildings.

Sorry, americanist, but the whole "we didn't know they'd fly planes into buildings" meme -- championed by the Queen of incompetence, Condi Rice -- doesn't wash.

Hijacking aircraft is a Bad Thing regardless, and preventing said hijacking -- for which harry has already admitted there were known preventative measures -- would have prevented whatever nefarious purposes al Qaeda had for the aircraft, be it flying into buildings, shooting all the passengers, or selling the jets on eBay.

For example, several of the 9-11 hijackers should have been flagged by various INS and other databases. Why weren't they?

Do you know for a fact that they -- or at least, say, two of them -- weren't?

And actually, Bush was already on vacation. We do know, of course, that he stayed. Nice to see you edge toward an admission, even if it isn't explicit, that so far as we know bush did nothing in response to the August 6 PDB. Today we remember the consequence of that fecklessness.

Well, some of us do; others simply excuse it. Bush Derangement, indeed.

Posted by: Gregory on September 11, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop wrote: "Good going, Dennis [Kucinich]. Now you can strengthen these sentiments at the next State of the Union address by not jumping into the aisle after the speech to shake Bush's hand, nodding and grinning like you're in the presence of a rock star."

No one in the Congress has been more outspoken against Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq -- especially when it counted, in the fall of 2002 before the invasion when he called "bullshit" on the Cheney-Bush lies about "weapons of mass destruction" and "links to Al Qaeda and 9/11" -- than Dennis Kucinich.

Kucinich made opposition to the war, withdrawal of US troops and an end to the occupation, the central theme of his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, and is doing so again this year.

Arguably few other people in public life have done as much as Dennis Kucinich to mobilize and organize a political constituency against the war, and were doing so at a time when it was politically risky, and the war had popular support, and other Democratic politicians were scrambling to be seen as supporting Bush's war plans.

And today Kucinich is one of a very few in the Congress who consistently demand that Congress end the occupation immediately, by exercising its Constitutional power to end the funding for the war.

But if you want, you can ignore all of that and obsess about how Kucinich smiled and shook Bush's hand after the state of the union speech.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 11, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

We need to add more Democrats to the congressional ranks -- not thin the numbers of the current herd.

I am inclined to agree with Donald here. I made the same argument this weekend in a post appealing for support of democratic candidates.

If you believe there is no difference in the major candidates at the presidential level, that is all the more reason to support real, liberal, Democrats in congressional races.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 11, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

harry wrote: "Maybe you think Al Gore (or your favorite alternate-history 9/11 president) would have launched a multi-billion dollar TSA-type security upgrade at airports, based only on this memo. Or put the entire nation on some kind of security alert. I seriously doubt this ..."

According to a September 2002 Associated Press report:

FBI Agent Cited Trade Center Attack Ahead of Sept. 11
By The Associated Press
Tuesday, 23 September, 2002

A Minneapolis FBI supervisor said in a pre-Sept. 11 conversation with headquarters that he wanted to prevent suspicious student pilot Zacarias Moussaoui from flying a plane into the World Trade Center, a congressional investigator testified Tuesday.

The supervisor said he had no reason to believe Moussaoui was planning such an attack, but made the remark in a frustrated attempt to convince headquarters that a special search warrant was needed to search Moussaoui's computer, investigator Eleanor Hill told a House-Senate committee investigating the Sept. 11 attacks.

Moussaoui is now accused of conspiring with the Sept. 11 hijackers to commit terrorism, and Hill outlined the Minneapolis FBI's office's repeated and unsuccessful efforts to convince headquarters that he was a possible terrorist.

The supervisor told the committee staff he was "trying to get people at FBI headquarters 'spun up' because he was trying to make sure that Moussaoui 'did not take control of a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center,'" Hill testified.

[...]

The Phoenix-based agent, Kenneth Williams, wrote a memo to his superiors in Washington two months before the attacks, suggesting that terrorists might be learning to fly commercial jetliners at U.S. flight schools. He asked for a check of flight schools, but no checks were made.

If the Cheney-Bush administration had followed the advice and example of the Clinton-Gore administration, and put the nation's security agencies on high alert in response to the numerous warnings in the summer of 2001 about possible major terrorist attacks on US soil, just as the Clinton-Gore administration did in the fall of 1999 in response to similar warnings about the impending "Millennium" attacks, then "people at FBI headquarters" would have already been "spun up", and warnings such as the one described above would have been recognized for what they were, and the 9/11 plot would have been thwarted, just as the "Millennium" plot was thwarted by the vigilance of the Clinton-Gore administration.

Instead, the Cheney-Bush administration acted against the urgent advice of the outgoing Clinton-Gore administration, and put terrorism on the back burner, ignored the increasingly urgent and specific warnings in the summer of 2001, and through their gross and criminal negligence allowed the 9/11 plot to succeed. The only question is whether this was a deliberate decision to allow a horrific attack on US soil to occur in order to provide justification for their long-planned war of aggression to seize control of Iraq's oil.


Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 11, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist, I didn't mean to say that Vietnam happened because of Korea. I was saying that Vietnam resulted in just a harboring of bitterness to try to pull of ANOTHER wasteful war, which we're seeing right now.

And we didn't learn a damn thing about Korea, because it made us think that staying in Vietnam was a good idea (perhaps we were hoping for a stable Korea-like outcome).

Your vision for the future is a waste, because it doesn't hold anyone accountable and it DEMANDS that we don't hold anyone accountable. That was the way we handled watergate... and look, what do you know? Cheney and Rumsfeld came back to haunt us 25 years later.

Posted by: Tyro on September 11, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

Americans, don't be foolish and believe the drivel that the dems or Thompson or even HRC will get us out of Iraq.

They won't, cause we need the oil. Haven't you suckers read that we're running out of the stuff?

Posted by: Dr WU-the last of the big time thinkers on September 11, 2007 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Greg asks: "Do you know for a fact that they -- or at least, say, two of them -- weren't?"

Go read Borderline Insanity, and check my email address. Get back to me when you've learned something.

Tyro spills all over the floor: "Your vision for the future is a waste, because it doesn't hold anyone accountable and it DEMANDS that we don't hold anyone accountable. That was the way we handled watergate..."

Last I looked, Nixon was the first and only President to resign in disgrace. So I dunno as nobody was held accountable -- a good number of the burglars and the coverup folks went to jail, in fact, e.g., Colson.

Personally, I've argued that we should have held Rumsfeld accountable for the Marines in Lebanon in 1983, which I think is a bit more relevant to Iraq.

But the part you guys keep missing really is the simplest: you want to fight the LAST battle -- the 2000 election, or 2004, you want to roll back the tape to 2003 and THIS time, everybody will see how brilliant you were and we won't buy into the war.

Life doesn't work like that.

We can't just yank up and come back from Iraq in two weeks or two months -- it doesn't work like that. We DON'T have unlimited, no-consequences options. We DO have a set of limited, one balanced against another options -- and, as it happens, not everybody agrees with you, nor with each other.

So in THAT, the real world where real people die cuz of choices like this (even the RIGHT choices), it makes more sense to figure out how to give the next President maximum room to get out there, than to constantly bitch about how bad Bush is, AS IF that is the starting AND the endpoint of figuring out what do to next.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 11, 2007 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

The failure to have real accountability for the perpetrators of Watergate is in a direct line with the assault on the Iraqi people. Did Nixon resign? Sure. Was he held to account for his criminal actions? Not in the least. The lesson the Republicans learned from Watergate wasn't "don't do that," it was "make sure you have enough levers to prevent anyone from holding you to account." Which explains how George W. Bush has not been impeached.

Americans are responsible for the outcome in Iraq. But there are no good ones available. They don't exist largely because of why we went to war on those people - those reasons varied all over the place depending on the individual propagandist, but none of them were seriously about the safety and security of either the American or Iraqi people.

Knowing how we got here is an incredibly important first step. If nothing else it tells us who should not be given the power to make these decisions ever again. The architects of this disaster have demonstrated that they do not have the best interests of America in mind when they speak.

What to do next isn't nearly as hard as apologists for this disaster make it out to be. Leave. Of course it will take more than a few days. And of course there are things that need to be done as well. But the people in Iraq have no reason to trust that the Christian soldiers are there to help.

What the Iraqis need are people who speak their language. The Iraqis need people who understand their culture. The Iraqis need people who aren't burned out, fearful, and marking time before they go home.

Now, it can be argued that most of the soldiers are there to help and that few of them are burned out, fearful, or marking time before they go home. But those things are much more likely when the soldiers don't speak the language or understand the culture and are thousands of miles from home.

What is needed is a Marshall Plan for Iraq. Massive amounts of money plugged into that nation and distributed by a multinational force that is largely made up of Iraq's neighbors. America's main role should be providing money with very few questions asked. In other words, accept responsibility for George W. Bush's war and pay reparations until such time as Iraq is at least as stable as it was under the reign of Saddam Hussein.

So the short answer of what to do? Leave and pay.

This will not happen so long as we have President Kick the Can Down the Road for the Next Guy. Which is why he and his party should be disinvited from all leadership positions. They created a disaster and have made it worse at every possible turning point. The Republican Party, as represented by their elected officials, is deeply unserious about national security.

Posted by: heavy on September 11, 2007 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Some dumbass comments from Americanist:

None of this had much to do with Korea. It was a very different kind of war -- the Korean War was a heavy armor, human wave invasion almost from the beginning and most steps along the way:

What? I've been to Korea. It's, to put it mildly, just a bit too mountainous for heavy armor. The tanks of the day--the early 1950s--weren't much use there. You get to the flat plain south of Seoul where you can maneuver and tanks might have been a factor. The problem with Americanist's comment is that 3/4ths of the fighting took place near the 38th parallel, where it is mostly mountainous.

Some dumbass comment from SecularAnimist:

And today Kucinich is one of a very few in the Congress who consistently demand that Congress end the occupation immediately, by exercising its Constitutional power to end the funding for the war.

How? By consistently undermining the efforts of Speaker Pelosi. Kucinich used the 2004 election to find himself a bride. His legacy is that of one of the worst large-city mayors in the history of this country. He is a self-serving self-promoter who has decided to make running for President his part-time gig to stay on the stage, long after it was concluded that he has no business on the stage.

Does the stupid ever stop? It's like watching a monkey play the violin.

Posted by: Pale Rider on September 11, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

But if you want, you can ignore all of that and obsess about how Kucinich smiled and shook Bush's hand after the state of the union speech.

I wouldn't call simply pointing out that Kucinich went out of his way, pushing others aside, to sycophantically grab at Bush "obsessing" about it--unless I were unnecessarily thin-skinned about any suggestion that the object of my demonstrable obsession might say one thing and do another.

Welcome back. Still the same guy who stormed out of here in a petulant snit.

Posted by: shortstop on September 11, 2007 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Heavy @ 7:56,

Nice comment. A more elegant and forceful version of what I tried to say earlier way upthread (with nary a response, I might sheepishly add).

However long it takes to withdraw the troops - 3 mos. (why not), 6 mos., one year, 2 years (now that's just silly) - a simple announcement of a change of heart could be arranged in a matter of hours. With some good faith in the air, everything would suddenly change. Hope for peace, and then healing, then prosperity, would have a reason to exist. The cynical actors who deal in violence, inside and outside of Iraq, could no longer exploit the frustration and despair to further their agendas.

Yeah, I know, I'm a pie-in-the-sky DFH. More important to some here that America SAVES FACE or something, because a patriot apparently doesn't admit error, but instead looks around for ways to profit from the nightmare five or ten years down the road.

Posted by: voyager50 on September 11, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Still the same guy who stormed out of here in a petulant snit.

I resemble that remark.

Posted by: Pale Rider on September 11, 2007 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

I resemble that remark.

No, you're the guy who slid out of here in a petal-strewn storm.

Smooch.

Posted by: shortstop on September 11, 2007 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

More human wave (particularly the Chinese invasion) than heavy armor over four years: oy, now we gotta argue over Korean geography?

For the record, the North Koreans and the Chinese used hundreds of T-34 tanks and armored cars; 150 North Korean T-34s were the primary wedge that pushed the South Koreans and what few American troops there were at the start to the Pusan perimeter in 1950. (It was largely to stop those tanks that we bombed dozens of Korean bridges at the start of the war, which had the horrifying human cost of preventing refugees as well as T-34s from getting across. Hundreds of thousands of people were condemned to life under the North because we destroyed their escape routes. Later in the war, fighting up and down the peninsula proved that tanks are deathtraps in mountains and rice paddies, and also useless without close infantry support. But no one who knows the history seriously doubts that without the bombing, Seoul would have been overrun and the war over before America could have intervened: heavy armor invasions can do that. Which is why I used the phrase 'heavy armor invasion'.)

Why DO you argue with obvious facts, Pale?

As for heavy's blissful ignorance, Churchill's advice comes to mind: "The redress of the grievances of the vanquished should precede the disarmament of the victors."

The Shi'ite majority in Iraq does not have a PROBLEM with the Sunni minority. It has a CONFLICT. A problem can be resolved. Compromise works it out --you get a little of this, I get a little of that.

A conflict cannot be resolved. The nature of the dispute will not be compromised -- working out a reconciliation of mutually exclusive religious faith is not a matter of you get some of x and I get some of y. (This is why I use 'the Americanist' as an online monicker: civics has a moral value, but Islam doesn't recognize it.) Nor is it possible to resolve the fundamentally unfair demographics of Iraq -- abused by a minority of Sunni thugs for generations, the majority is going to be victorious.

So they are not likely to disarm anytime soon, and it is hard to see how the 'grievances of the vanquished' are going to be redressed within the hallucination of a centrally-run Iraq, with majority rule and minority rights, etc. What's far more likely (cuz all indications point this way) is that Sunni and Shi'a will violently separate, while outside sponsors like Iran back the Shi'ia and Saudi Arabia backs the Sunni, while we loom over it all, backing...

Well, what?

See, a conflict cannot be resolved, but it can be managed: and that's where the next President will want to go, I expect, cuz that's how to get us out.

Moral vapor like heavy's ain't helpful.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 12, 2007 at 7:59 AM | PERMALINK

The starting point and the ending IS about how to purge those responsible. We're not going to get out in two months. But leaving the loons in charge will keep us there for 10 years... at which point the loons will come back to haunt us and whip the country up into another war frenzy.

Americanist, you've got nothing to say here other then, "let's be reasonable." You're just acting as a useful idiot for the neoconservative agitators of the war.

Posted by: Tyro on September 12, 2007 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

"Americanist, you've got nothing to say here other then, "let's be reasonable."

Well, sure, if you don't count the REASONS.

Posted by: theAmericanist on September 12, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Americanist, you can't ernestly maintain that the best solution is to give the current president a try for the next few years, while simultaneously suggesting that his usual best efforts involve going on vacation for a month. That dog won't hunt.

Right now, the question is "Should we be in Iraq"? And the answer is, most of us here think we should NOT be there. Since the current president will be so for a least another year, what the next president will do is less important than what the current one will do. This is not a non sequitur. If the war is going badly enough that we might need to get out then it follows perfectly that if you think the next president should consider getting out, then the current president should too. This is not a non sequitur either.

And don't give me any "you don't/won't get it" trolling bullplop.

Posted by: royalblue_tom on September 12, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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